SWAN were crowned champions of the Swan Studley Skittles League Triples Knockout as the competition produced some dramatic action from the last eight stage onwards.
The quarter-finals saw fairly comfortable wins for the four teams who would contest the semis, but the last eight matches gave no inkling of the excitement and tension to follow in the closely fought and low-scoring games in the semis and the final.
The first semi pitted Swan A, having progressed at the expense of Alley Cats B, against Engineers C, who had overcome Maudslay A.
Swan A opened an early nine-pin lead which Engineers C whittled away to only a single pin going into the last leg. Swan A then left their opponents needing to score 21 to reach the final, but Engineers C fell just three pins short.
In the other semi Team BG A, having won their derby game with Team BG B, faced Engineers B, winners over Alcester Nomads A.
Team BG A took a narrow lead after leg one before the game swung in favour of Engineers B, who led by only two pins going into the final leg. Team BG A then produced a good last leg to leave Engineers B wanting 21 to win, which they too failed to achieve by only three pins.
Team BG A (Janet Mold, Carl Baker and Gail Stringer) started the final well to lead by six pins after two legs, only to have that lead reduced by Swan A (Dave Maule, Bob Haycock and Graham Howells) to a single pin going into the last leg.
Swan A were then left needing to make 23 for victory and they made it to win the final by two pins.
There were three stacks – all in the quarter-finals. Tony O’Connor (Alley Cats B) made 42 (14-stack), Ian Greenway (Engineers C) 42 (15-stack) and Graham Howells (Swan A) 38 (14-stack), with both Ian and Graham clearing all nine pins with their first ball.
Results: Quarter-finals – Swan A 116 Alley Cats B 90; Team BG A 99 Team BG B 85; Engineers C 111 Maudslay A 95; Engineers B 95 Alcester Nomads A 93.
Semi-finals: Swan A 98 Engineers C 96; Team BG A 103 Engineers B 101.
Final: Swan A 96 Team BG A 94.